How Much Does an Echocardiogram for a Cat Cost?

Written by: Staff

Although there are numerous causes of heart murmurs in cats, the most common feline cardiac disease is cardiomyopathy.  This disease affects the heart muscle and, over time, triggers it to enlarge, causing damage and becoming less proficient at pumping blood.  During a physical exam, a veterinarian will listen intently to your cat’s heart with an amplified stethoscope, and he or she will then try to determine the cause of the murmur in order to provide enhanced treatment.

A cardiac ultrasound, known as an echocardiogram, or an “echo,” is needed to exclude progressive heart disease. It quantifies the heart’s wall thickness and determines the chamber sizes.  It can also identify motion to study the heart’s capability to circulate blood. Most cardiac problems in cats can be cured if detected prematurely.

How much does an echocardiogram for a cat cost?

The cost of an ultrasound depends on the veterinarian, the extent of the procedure and whether it is done in a veterinary office or an animal hospital.  On average, a feline cardiac ultrasound can cost $100 to $500.  This won’t include additional x-rays and the office fee.  In all, the total will be about $350 to $600. says a chest x-ray could cost $250 and the echocardiogram can cost an additional $350.

Echocardiogram for a cat overview

Included in the cost estimates will be the cardiac ultrasound, the generated results, analysis, and a final diagnosis made by the vet.

During this procedure, the vet will be able to examine the cat’s internal organs.  This non-invasive test is commonly used to look into organs such as the heart and reproductive organs.  An echocardiogram is often prescribed when an x-ray may spot something, but the vet can’t look more in depth.   The chest hair may need to be clipped, depending on the hair length.

For most problems, a vet will recommend an x-ray, ultrasound and the echocardiogram.  The x-ray will be able to show the shape, size and position of the heart, while the ultrasound will allow the vet to see inside the heart.  The echocardiogram can’t examine the lungs, but it will be necessary if the ultrasound and/or x-rays show a suspicion of congenital or acquired heart disease.

Sedation won’t be required and is relatively painless for all cats.

It should take 30 to 60 minutes; however, if the heart valves need to be measured, additional time may be needed.

What are the extra costs?

Most regular veterinarians are not that great with the high-tech echocardiogram interpretations.  Therefore, consulting a cardiologist is a sound idea in order to acquire a diagnosis.  Most vets are quite knowledgeable at managing heart cases once they are diagnosed.  Since people have to travel more than a couple of hours for specialty services, having a veterinary cardiologist at your regular vet clinic is an absolute luxury, but it will not come free.

Most veterinarians will complete an x-ray procedure prior to suggesting an ultrasound.  This will be done after completing a physical examination, and these visits will require an additional fee as well. X-rays can start at $150 and go up from there.

How can I save money?

The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine suggests calling a number of the neighborhood’s local veterinarians and see what they charge.  Most will be happy to offer you a ballpark estimate over the phone.

Request a pre-test consultation. Your cat may not really need an echo after all.  Most vets will use an echocardiogram as a last resort.

Check with the local Humane Society to see what they charge.  What you’re going to find is that local shelters, such as the Humane Society, will often work with those who can’t afford certain tests, sometimes offering a discount.

If you don’t have a pet insurance policy, highly consider getting one.  Most policies are very affordable and can save you thousands.

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